Rising costs of living and the interest rate hikes needed to stem soaring prices are taking their toll, triggering the highest rates of financial hardship since the pandemic began.
Four in ten Australians are experiencing some form of financial difficulty, which is the highest number recorded in the NAB Hardship Survey since the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Watch video above: Two major banks hike rates ahead of RBA meeting.
Looking for a new job or job candidate? Post jobs and search for local talent on 7NEWS Jobs >>
The December quarter’s increased results follow a three-year steady increase in reported hardship cases.
Those in need may be struggling to pay bills and rent, don’t have enough money to buy groceries, cannot make mortgage or loan repayments, or don’t have enough money to fund an emergency.
“Financial difficulties can arise at any time and are often the result of illness, job loss or overcommitment,” says the NAB report.
“Rapidly rising interest rates and the cost of living are meanwhile also putting more households in financial distress.”
Despite aggressive rate hikes that pushed up repayments for those with adjustable-rate loans, the inability to make mortgage repayments was the least contributor to the heavy financial strain.
The survey of 2,000 Australians found that just one in 20 respondents had difficulty meeting their home loan obligations, compared with one in five people who had not paid a bill in the past three months.
About one in five did not have enough money for an emergency, and 16 percent could not afford food or necessities.
The cost of living crisis hit rural and regional areas harder than capital cities, with Tasmanians reporting the highest rates of financial distress of any state or territory.
https://7news.com.au/business/finance/cost-of-living-crisis-laid-bare-as-metric-indicates-worst-outcome-since-early-days-of-pandemic-c-9923063 The cost of living crisis has been laid bare as the metric shows its worst result since the pandemic began